Heading to CicLAvia and not sure where to start? Check in with some of the city's best bike groups—from the hardest partiers who like to stop at bars along the route to co-op shop cyclists guiding first time riders. Here’s your guide to the best bike groups to hook up with at CicLAvia 2012.RECOMMENDED: See more of CicLAvia 2012
The group: This all-ages crowd consists of mechanics from the Bikerowave co-op shop (and surrounding shops), plus a handful of Westsiders. The riders are mostly beginner to intermediate.
The ride: Meet at Bikerowave in Mar Vista at 8am. It's a straight shot down Venice Blvd to Hauser, then Cochran, 4th, Hoover, 7th and then a hop on the bike lane for a (finally!) easy-going ride to Downtown. RSVP on Bikerowave's Facebook event page.
The inside scoop: “The real beginners will likely throw their bikes in cars and drive to CicLAvia. We ride about 10 miles out, so it’s 20 miles there and back on top of the CicLAvia riding—and that can be a little much for beginning riders,” says group organizer, John Brown.
Flying Pigeon Los Angeles
The group: More than 200 participants turn out for this ride—from riders in costume; to families with kids and trailers in tow; to those for whom their bikes are their babies.
The ride: Meet at 9:30am at the front of Flying Pigeon's Downtown shop in order to leave a few minutes before the 10am start of CicLAvia. Just a few blocks from the Chinatown hub, this feeder ride is practically at the heart of the event. Check Flying Pigeon's website for more details.
The inside scoop: You can add to your bike decor with European-style specialty gear from the shop. “If you don’t have a rear rack I’d get that installed on the back of your bike and clip on a Basil Bottle Memory Basket—they’re deep enough to covertly hide your wine bottle in a paper bag—essential for any CicLAvia picnic,” says Flying Pigeon LA owner Josef Bray-Ali.
Watts Labor Community Action Committee + East Side Riders
The group: Friends of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (proudly boasting ages 5-65) meet up with a local bike club, East Side Riders, for a large, multi-generational family-friendly ride. Expect to ride with at least 45 or so Watts regulars, many sporting customized cruisers.
The ride: Meet at 8:30am for a slow-paced 90-minute ride starting from the WLCAC homebase, 12th Street and Central Avenue, in Watts. The group approaches CicLAvia from its southern hub, Expo Park. Check the Facebook event page for details.
The inside scoop: Snacks! The organizers generously hand out water and granola bars along the ride. “Afterwards, we try to stop at Taco El Gavilan on Washington and Central before heading back. It’s a pretty good place for tacos,” says the WLCAC's John Jones III.
Caltech Bike Lab
The group: The Bike Lab, an offshoot of Caltech's cycling club, organizes this ride comprised mostly of students—with community members of all ages sprinkled in.
The ride: Meet at 9am at the corner of San Pasqual Street and Wilson Avenue, in Pasadena, with your bike. Expect a 13-14 mile downhill trek, taking a little more than an hour. “We go fairly slow and someone is in the back to help with anyone who is having any technical issues—we wait up for everyone,” says organizer Paul Anzel, who often takes his accordion down to CicLAvia to play music for fellow riders, and usually does a quick detour down Figueroa for a more scenic route.
The inside scoop: Want an easy return trip? There's no shame in hitching a Metro ride back with this group. “By the end, a lot of people are tired and just want to take the train home," Anzel says. "Nice thing is, you can get back to Pasadena very easily.” For last-minute repairs before the ride, the Caltech Bike Lab opens at 8:30am. Check the website for more details.
The group: What started nine years ago as a small group of friends going on a nightly bike ride has grown into a wide collective of bike enthusiasts who now converge on the Midnight Ridazz online forum. Check out groups like Los Angelopes, known for their quirky, wild-looking bikes. If you're seeking out a party ride, hit up The Beastsiders from the Eastside and Crank Mob from the Westside.
The ride: Meeting times and locations vary for each group. Check the Midnight Ridazz website for details.
The inside scoop: Veteran Ridazz like Don “Roadblock” Ward and his Wolfpack Hustle group are known to occasionally rub shoulders with biking celebs. "We usually start from Orange 20 Bikes in Hollywood, ride straight to Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights, and if Lance Armstrong shows up we try to hound him to join us,” Ward says.